Armstrong holds on for Formula 2 Sprint win

Marcus Armstrong

Marcus Armstrong has won the Formula 2 Sprint race in Imola after resisting almost race-long pressure from Jehan Daruvala.

The New Zealander sealed his first win of the season after a mighty start that saw him rocket into the lead from the off.

Jack Doohan slipped from eighth to 11th on the opening lap, bouncing over the kerb at Variante Tamburello as he found himself boxed out in the opening exchanges.

Logan Sargeant, who’d started from pole, slid down the order to fifth as he was swamped off the line, Daruvala, Dennis Hauger, and Roy Nissany all finding their way by.

A spin exiting that chicane from David Beckmann drew the early Safety Car, which released the field once more with five laps completed.

The front three scampered clear soon after the restart, Nissany backing the rest of the field up as he managed his tyres.

Ralph Boschung stopped after battling issues in his car, the Virtual Safety Car deployed as marshals worked to push his stricken machine behind the wall on Lap 10.

It was a brief interruption, the leaders completing little more than half a lap before the green flags were shown.

Second placed Daruvala closed on Armstrong out front under the VSC, the Indian driver shadowing the leading New Zealander but never close enough to steal away top spot.

The duo were two seconds clear of third placed Hauger, who was in a lonely race in the final podium position.

Having risen to 10th, Doohan found himself under pressure from Frederik Vesti as the race moved into its final third.

A brazen move by Vesti saw him claim 10th exiting Piratella having gained a strong exit from Tosa to use the run to catch his rival off line, Doohan going slightly deep into the left hander to slide wide and open the door coming out of the corner.

Loose bodywork on Hauger’s car made for a nervous run to the flag as the cover on his right sidepod worked its way loose.

In those final laps, points leader Felipe Drugovich caught and passed Sargeant to move up to fifth.

Armstrong remained clear out front, winning by 1.4s over Daruvala and Hauger, who escaped seeing the meatball flag to round out the podium.

Liam Lawson was home in eighth while Doohan was the first Australian home in 11th, with Calan Williams in 14th, one spot back from his Trident team-mate Richard Verschoor.

Formula 2 returns for its Feature race at 18:20 AEST.

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